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Art in the Caribbean: An introduction

Book relating to a publication, 2011
Published by: New Beacon Books, London
Year published: 2011
Number of pages: 184
ISBN: 978 1 873201 22 0

image of Art in the Caribbean: An introduction

Produced by longtime historian of Caribbean art, Anne Walmsley and artist Stanley Greaves, in collaboration with Christopher Cozier, Art in the Caribbean: An Introduction was published in London by New Beacon Books, in 2011.

Art in the Caribbean: An Introduction is an informative book and a valuable resource that will be of considerable benefit to the casual reader as well as to more seasoned researchers of Caribbean art. From the book’s back cover: “Art in the Caribbean: An Introduction centres on a virtual gallery of art made in the region from the 1940s to the 2000s. Work featured is contextualized within its historical background, from Pre-Columbian times to the present day, through narrative text and time line. This book will be welcomed by students and by all with an interest in the region’s art.”

The ‘Gallery’ in question presents 40 artworks—including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, artifacts, photography, video, installations, and a performance piece/costume/kinetic sculpture—made in the Caribbean from the 1940s to the 2000s. 40 works represent 40 artists and each work is reproduced in full colour, one work per page, accompanied by a brief but highly informative introduction to the piece in question. The artists represented in the Gallery are all Caribbean-born, from countries such as the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Trinidad.

Contents as follows:



Gallery of Artworks made in the Caribbean 1940s to 2000s

The Gallery section is followed by a particularly useful ‘Historical Background’ section, consisting of a number of essays of varying lengths, relating to the histories of the Caribbean region and the countries of which it is comprised. These texts are all extensively illustrated.

Pre-Columbian 5000 BC-AD 1500
Colonial and early independence 1500-1900
Modern and contemporary 1900-2010
Dominican Republic
Dutch Caribbean and Suriname
French Antilles
Leeward and Winward Islands
Puerto Rico
Trinidad and Tobago

There then follows a Time Line, and Glossary of art terms. 

Select Bibliography, of Caribbean Region, then Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Dutch Caribbean and Suriname, French Antilles, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Leeward and Winward Islands, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago

Further Reading

Illustrations (credits)


The book’s Preface is particularly useful in critically contextualising this volume. 

“’Caribbean art’ as a regional category of work is relatively recent. Its validity is questioned in ways which reflect the on-going debate as to whether ‘the Caribbean’ is a meaningful entity, and ever-changning concepts of ‘Caribbean identity’. This book’s chronicling of the shared roots, the particular variations of visual practice in the region seems to us both timely and worth attempting. ‘Caribbean art’ is constantly in danger of being subsumed into other more powerful categories. For example, a recent trend to include Caribbean art in a ‘Black Atlantic’ framework was evident in the exhibitions Back to Black (2006) and Afro Modern (2010).” [Back to Black actually took place a year earlier, in 2005].

Later on in the Preface, Anne Walmsley and Stanley Greaves write that their selection is “drawn from all parts of the region but weighted towards the Anglophone Caribbean, given the book’s origins and expected readership.”

The book’s cover featured Carlisle Chang’s work, The Inherent Nobility of Man, 1962.

Related people + view all 41

»  Philip Moore

Born, 1921 in Manchester, British Guiana/Guyana

»  Petrona Morrison

Born, 1954 in Manchester, Jamaica

»  Wendy Nanan

Born, 1955 in Trinidad

»  Bernadette Persaud

Born, 1946 in British Guiana/Guyana

»  Marcel Pinas

Born, 1971 in Eastern Suriname